CEPI launches $3.5 bn plan to tackle risk of future pandemics 

March 12, 2021 0 By FM

CEPI, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, launched a US$3.5bn plan to reduce or even eliminate the future risk of pandemics and epidemics, potentially averting millions of deaths, and trillions of dollars in economic damage.

The five-year plan sets out ambitious initiatives to build a future world that is better equipped to deal with these devastating diseases. As part of the plan, CEPI announced its “moon-shot” objective to help compress vaccine development timelines to 100 days, about a third of the time that it took the world to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.

The plan will not only accelerate vaccine development and reduce the threat posed by future epidemics and pandemics, but it will also enable equitable access to these life-saving innovations for the most vulnerable populations.

CEPI is calling on governments, global health organisations, and strategic partners to back this critical investment in global health security, taking advantage of the revolution in vaccinology that has been catalysed by COVID-19.

“We are at a critical point in human history. We now have the tools to dramatically reduce or eliminate the risk of future epidemics and pandemics. Achieving such a goal will take a coordinated and collective global response, and CEPI’s contributions will be central to this long-term global effort. We must invest now in the vaccines and biologic countermeasures that we need while linking these investments with commitments to equitable access,” said Richard Hatchett, CEPI CEO, in a statement.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the time from the release of the SARS-CoV-2 genetic sequence to the submission of Pfizer/BioNTech phase 3 clinical trial data for regulatory review was 314 days.

There is an urgent need to do more to mitigate the immediate threat of COVID-19 variants and to prepare now, for the next pandemic.

CEPI will allocate the US$3.5bn to prepare for known epidemic and pandemic threats, transform the response to the next novel threat, and connect and enhance global collaboration to strengthen global preparedness.

CEPI will work to substantially reduce global epidemic and pandemic risk by:

1. Strengthening our defences against COVID-19 and reducing the risk of future coronavirus pandemics, by optimising the current vaccines, addressing variants of concern, developing next-generation COVID-19 vaccines, and initiating the development of broadly protective or universal coronavirus vaccines.

2. Developing vaccines for known threats, to include completing the development of vaccines for chikungunya, Lassa fever, Nipah, and MERS, advancing the development of vaccines against Rift Valley fever and completing additional clinical trials to broaden the populations eligible for the Ebola vaccines.

3. Working to compress vaccine development timelines to 100 days by optimizing the capabilities of rapid response platforms including mRNA, preparing clinical trial networks to respond rapidly to new threats, working closely with global regulators to streamline regulatory requirements, and linking manufacturing facilities to enable rapid production of pandemic vaccines.

4. Producing a library of prototype vaccines and other biological interventions against representative pathogens from critical viral families. The “library of prototype vaccines” will be developed through phase 1 clinical trials and use rapid response platforms that will allow rapid adaptation if related viruses emerge.

5. Establishing global networks for lab capacity, assays, and preclinical models that are critical for rapid vaccine development and developing arrangements with existing national or regional clinical trial and manufacturing networks.

6. Supporting the efforts of low- and middle-income countries to take full ownership of their national health security by developing the infrastructure and expertise to conduct epidemiological and clinical studies, support technology transfer, and establish national and regional vaccine manufacturing.